Sometimes I struggle with how to reach out to my neighbors. Not with being nice to them or taking them a plate of cookies or some fresh baked bread. Those are easy, tangible ways to reach out. And they are important.
I mean reaching out in a way that touches the soul. That shows them the Light of Jesus.
Deeds are essential. We show our faith by our deeds.
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. James 2:18
But Words are necessary!
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can
they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they
hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:13-15
The neighborhood we live is is extremely diverse. I mean the vast majority of folks are here from other countries. And they have different belief systems or no belief system.
And when you offer a listening ear, you hear things that make you aware of the hopeless nature that many of their lives are defined by.
And a plate of cookies or a loaf of fresh bread is not enough.
When you offer to keep your neighbor's children so she and her husband can go on a date and she says, " Well, we'll take you up on it when we schedule conference calls. He and I don't have much to talk about."
And she is completely serious.
And you know that there are marriages out there like that, but you can't imagine one like that. Because you're married to your best friend. And you know that Christ in you and Christ in him makes all the difference.
And you know both your neighbor AND her husband need Jesus.
Or you meet the mom of a new friend of your kids. And within moments she's sharing how she lost her job and she's had an interview today. How she and her husband got divorced because he has a problem with alcohol.
And you know she NEEDS hope. She needs Jesus.
So what do I say in those moments? There is the part of me that just wants to sit them down and say, "Jesus is all you'll ever need. He will fill the hole in your heart. He will give you purpose. He can make your marriage whole and purposeful. He made you. He knows you.He loves you more than you'll ever know."
And the other part of me that says, "Yes, speak those words. In due time. For now, offer to pray for them. And do it. I will soften the heart as you sow seeds of faith."
And I THINK those words that speak softly to my spirit are from the One Who dwells within.
And I listen.
So I'm praying without ceasing.
For these who the Lord has put in my path.
And I tell them I'm praying. And they take another look at me.
And I pray that they see Jesus reaching out.